SECTIONS
Monday, September 16, 2019

Editorial: Farc lessons from Colombia


WHILE we are busy bashing each other over President Rodrigo Duterte, a very telling event happened in Colombia just three days ago: the rejection of a peace deal signed by the Colombian government with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or Farc, after the initials in Spanish by the Colombians.

The numbers were discouraging. The peace still evasive.

First, only a small percentage of the people cast their vote last October 2, on whether to accept the peace deal or not, a mere 38 percent. This reflects a very low regard for the issue.

The 62 percent could not be bothered to say yes or no. Then the shocker: a 50.2 percent vote against the landmark peace deal that was signed just last week by Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos and Farc leader Timoleon Jimenez after almost four years of peace negotiations to end a 52-year war between the government and the Farc rebels.

This, despite earlier surveys that show a comfortable win for the “yes” campaign.

It was reported by BBC News that with 98.98 percent votes already counted, the difference between the winning no votes against the yes votes was but 54,000 out of the almost 13-million ballots.

There is a big reason to care, and leave Edgar Matobato-Leila de Lima-Antonio Trillanes theatrics behind.

There’s a lot of parallelism here.

Farc, the largest rebel group in Colombia, was founded in 1964 as the armed wing of the Communist Party and follows a Marxist-Leninist ideology.

The New People's Army was formed on March 29, 1969 as the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines and follows a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist ideology.

Farc was founded by small farmers and land workers who were fighting against inequality in Colombia and to date are still most active in the rural areas, despite having a few collectives in the cities.

This could very well be the NPA that we have.

Bottomline, it’s a similar war and the peace process is as contentious.
What is very clear here is the need to make sure that the people, who will be the ones to decide on whether the peace deal will be accepted, are properly informed, are involved, and are concerned about the peace that is being talked about.

We cannot go on bashing each other and being mesmerized by the television screen listening to a person who is turning out to be a big liar and not give a second of our interest on the ongoing peace talks.

Indeed, the national capital will not have much interest on the peace talks as the wars are being fought in the rural areas.

But, as the people comprising the greater number, we should not let the national capital dictate what is of prime importance for our people and our land.

This is the challenge to the peace negotiators on the government panel, to make sure that interest is stirred and sustained.

We have this window of vast opportunities that has been opened, with rebel leaders sharing our dreams of peace, we have to make sure that the people who will eventually decide our fate will be viewing from that same window.

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